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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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The significance of the figures in Table 20 can be appreciated by relating them to food prices current at the time of the survey. The United States Department of Agriculture periodically issues food plans with costs, devised to provide a nutritionally adequate diet for individuals of both sexes and various ages in a family of four. I have reviewed their plan for October of 1960 (71). Taking the estimated cost of 1 week's food for the "low-cost plan" (and ignoring the "moderate-cost" and "liberal" plans, which are approximately 25 percent and 50 percent more expensive respectively), a crude average of around $5.50 per person per week can be calculated. (The range is from $3.00 per week for children under 1 year of age to $8.60 per week for nursing mothers.) If these estimates are valid, then it is clear that many of the families surveyed in 1960 were not spending enough to provide an adequate diet.
Some benefits from quantity food purchase and preparation are possible in larger families. In an earlier study (72) it was found that 48.7 percent of families of six or more met recommended dietary allowances on expenditures of $4.00 per person per week while only 31.5 percent of the three-person families did so. At expenditures of $4.00 to $5.99 per person per week, 58.1 percent of three-person families and 85.8 percent of six-or-more-person families met the recommendation. "Economy of scale," then, is possible, but it is clear that many larger families, especially in the lower income groups, cannot provide an adequate diet with the amounts they are spending.
Family Size and Medical Expenditures. It is relevant here to examine the effects of family size on medical expenditures as revealed in a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Report (68-70). Table 21 shows expenditures for medical care, as a percentge of total expenditures, calculated in the same way as in Table 19. The differences in the two tables are interesting. Although actual cash expenditures for medical care increase somewhat, the percentage does not increase with income, as is the case with regard to food expenditures. Unlike food expenditures, medical care expenditures decrease as family size increases. In spite of the fact that the need for medical care will increase, as we have seen from the morbidity data associated with family size, expenditures do not. It appears, then, that larger families may be depriving themselves of medical care in order to meet other needs. No data are available to indicate whether the amount of free medical care received by low income families would alter this picture. However, free medical programs would not have any appreciable effect on families with incomes higher than $3,000 or $4,000 per year.
Family Size and Maternal Care. Preschool children are very largely dependent on their mothers. The quality of maternal care provided determines many aspects of child health. With these truisms in mind, it is of interest to review the effects of family size on maternal care, as shown in two British